Meet us

Katherine Ford, Founder and Director

The Carousel Logo

“At the heart of my work lies a firm belief in the importance of nurturing children’s innate creative potential from the earliest point and the critical role of families in supporting their children’s play.”.

It was upon this guiding principle that The Carousel Project was founded in 2011.  Having experienced first hand the positive impact that access to creative and cultural interventions can have on people’s health and wellbeing, individually and collectively, Katherine Ford, Director, reflected upon the experience gained during her career in arts management and established ‘The Carousel Project’ CIC.  Katherine is a fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), graduating from the Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs in 2012 and 2017.

Lizzie Swinford, Carousel Dance Artist

Lizzie Swinford is a dance practitioner living and working in Exeter.  She trained at the London Contemporary Dance School and works in the community, schools, further and higher education.  In her Early Years practice, Lizzie takes a playful, interactive approach: improvising with children.  This has developed through her Carousel collaborations as part of ‘Round and Round you Turn me’ and ‘Exploratale’.  Her work reveals a desire to be led by children’s ideas, dancing in active moving dialogue with them. Lizzie also collaborates with movement artist Pip Jones in their interactive dance theatre piece, ‘Paper Capers’ and ‘All Aboard’, Dance in Devon’s integrated dance project in special schools and Early Years settings.

Keep up with Lizzie’s activities at

Mel Humphrey – Freelance Project Evaluator

I work as a freelance consultant offering project evaluation services to arts, cultural and heritage organisations across Devon.  I enjoy helping Carousel to understand the difference they make for their audience, as well as help them reflect on and evolve their delivery. I have proven to their funders and partners that Carousel is indeed creating meaningful positive social change in early years families across Devon.

I have a background in communications and stakeholder management with a keen interest in cultural development and capacity building within communities. I have worked across government, corporate, small business and not-for-profits. My Master of Social Change and Development led me into social program evaluation. I  have a particular interest in designing participatory models of evaluation that give people their voice, and enable evaluation efforts to contribute to both the legacy and advocacy of cultural and creative endeavours.

Catherine Farnell

Catherine originally worked as a professional archaeologist, excavating sites in this country and abroad. She subsequently retrained as a primary school teacher and now combines both her passions, teaching and archaeology, to develop new creative ways of engaging young children and families in heritage.

Catherine is very interested in the arts and enjoys working collaboratively with other artists and practitioners to explore new ways of bringing heritage concepts to life. She has developed a range of heritage learning resources, used by both families and schools, including a children’s book called Noni the Blacksmith. She also enjoys working with textiles and has designed and created playpacks for Carousel project